This is a sterling Planets.
“Mars” is zippy and no-nonsense. I’m guessing the trombone player was having a great time, because he/she got a bit ahead of himself/herself when playing the first phrase of his/her solo bit from 2:19-2:25. The aforementioned (and gender-unspecified) trombonist settled down when the phrase was repeated (2:25-2:31). In the loud rum-pa-pum-pum section (4:22-5:16), the snare drummer has a bit of trouble keeping a steady tempo. There’s also some dodgy intonation from a clarinet at 6:06. But apart from those peccadillos (as opposed to armadillos), this is eine gute “Mars”.
“Venus” is superb. So is “Mercury”.
“Jupiter”, however, is better than superb: it’s excellent. Here’s an example of that excellentness: In the return of the Jolly Tune (5:57-6:20), Holst asks for the tune to be played slower than it was the first time (1:01-1:22), and then speed it up to the tempo it was the first time. Geoffrey Simon and his merry band do exactly that. It’s perfect.
This really is a mighty fine Planets. The only thing I wish for is better sound. The sound quality’s not bad as it is, but for a Planets this good, I really think it deserves super-duper, demonstration-class sound quality.
Trivia: The more I listened to this Planets the more it crept up the list. I’m seriously thinking about putting this in the top 10.
Update: I didn’t.